Anna Claire Vollers is an investigative reporter for Alabama Media Group (AMG), covering civil rights and social justice issues. Her work appears online at AL.com and in AMG’s three newspapers. She collaborated with the Center for Investigative Reporting on Alabama’s lack of religious daycare regulation and her reporting on rural maternity care was featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Before turning to reporting in 2013, she worked as a regional magazine editor and features writer. Anna Claire lives in Huntsville, Alabama with her husband and their three sons.

Project description: Immigration transformed this rural Alabama town; the principal fought to keep the school together describes Sand Mountain—a three-county swath of northeast Alabama that includes cloistered mountain communities, manufacturing towns hit hard by outsourcing, and the state’s largest concentrated population of Latinos. This is Trump country, but it’s also much more. News coverage of Sand Mountain tends to dip into spectacle: a haven for snake-handling churches and a drug trade that’s earned it the nickname “Meth Mountain.” Anna’s multimedia project paints a portrait of a region too long defined by its challenges rather than by its resilience.

In her own words: “Now more than ever, Americans need to better understand one another. I felt a thrill of excitement the first time I read about ivoh and its mission. This, I thought, is the kind of journalism that could help us calm a national atmosphere of divisiveness and distrust. There are good people out there, passionate about improving their tiny corners of the world. I want to tell stories that celebrate and drive positive change.”

Back To All 2017 Fellows